A lot of cold-weather settings figure into Maggie’s Plan. In turn, they serve as a logical prop for Georgette’s (Julianne Moore) enveloping, artisan, wool sweaters and accessories. Her items’ weaves, stitches and looping are so sensual that they provoke hands to reach out to the screen and immerse palms into the items, as one would do to the back of an animal.
Those materials beg for a tactile response.
So does Georgette.
Rebecca Miller, the writer and director of Maggie’s Plan, has her own agenda.
Georgette is a mother, as well as a brilliant, articulate, tenured professor at a prominent New York City university. A native of Denmark, she speaks in fast-paced, highly accented English, with every conversation like a speed-skating competition. And she’s admittedly obsessed over career advancement. Emotions, not so much.
Her husband, John (Ethan Hawke), feeling the pinch, isn’t happy in this marriage, which is also imbued with Georgette’s frustration. He’s ripe for another female companion, who turns out to be Maggie (Greta Gerwig).
And the sweaters and neckwear?
Underneath that seemingly frigid Scandinavian, no-nonsense demeanor is a woman who craves the man she fell in love with. Even post-divorce, she’s filled with yearning.
Good times or bad, such garments are protection, not only from the literal cold but also from the harsh and bracing words or innuendos slung by those closest to you.
Around the neck, opulent scarves – made from animal fur or yarn – cradle the throat, which houses the Mercurial voice box that speaks our greatest needs.
Georgette – petite and emitting the intellectual scorch of a missile – doesn’t seem, on the surface, to need extra warmth.
But emotionally, she’s heat-starved. So is Maggie – she’s also big on scarves with a more modest provenance.
In Miller’s hands, woolies – fleece, hair, puffed – become another character. They’re a comforting, Lunar accessory that’s a clue to these women’s inner, emotional lives: waxing and waning like the Moon. Sounds like a plan.
Astrology Archetype: ☽ (Moon)